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Friday, Apr. 19th, 2019

Summit Aviation Sends a Record 16 Staff to ACSF’s Annual Safety Symposium

Washington, DC, April, 2019 — When the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) holds its annual safety symposium, it’s typical for aviation companies that are ACSF members to send one—maybe two—representatives. So, this year, when Summit Aviation, a Bozeman, Montana-based air charter company, showed up for the meeting with 16 of its staff—including its president—ACSF President Bryan Burns did a classic double-take.

“Any meeting or symposium planner would agree, when you experience this kind of exceptional interest in and commitment to an event, you have to assume you’re doing something right, and the first thing you want to understand is why,” Burns said.

Burns didn’t have to ponder his question very long. Shortly after the event, Ben Walton, President of Summit Aviation, got in touch with Burns, and shared a letter with him written by Janine Schwahn, who is both the Director of Operations and Director of Safety for Summit.

Schwahn’s letter explained why she insisted to her boss that nearly everyone on the Summit team should attend the ACSF safety event. “I told him that change happens from the inside out—and that all pilots, schedulers and our director of maintenance should be there,” Schwahn wrote.  

Burns thinks that the increasingly high level of interest in ACSF is because, as an open topic, safety is hitting its stride. As Schwahn said in her letter, “Within hours of the symposium being finished, safety and anomaly reports began trickling into our online reporting system—and none of them were anonymous. Everyone understood the importance of information and knew there was not to be retribution. We’re all in this together.”

The symposium opened up topics of discussion and ideas among the crews, schedulers and mechanics that previously might have been cringe-worthy. As Schwahn reported, “Active discussion of safety issues, such as Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) and SOPs were talked about in taxis, hotel lounges and even the KCM [known crewmember] checkpoints as we traveled home.”

Schwahn added: “One week later, I’m still getting texts, phone calls and emails from captains, first officers, mechanics and our schedulers with suggested changes to procedures and processes to make the operation safer. Likewise, we are removing procedures that just added workload and didn’t improve safety."

Burns says he’s highly gratified by Summit Aviation’s extraordinary commitment to safety, and he hopes to make the annual symposium even more topical and interesting based on Summit’s feedback.

Burns noted: “As Charles Lindbergh said, ‘Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most.’ With that in mind, I sincerely hope that many more ACSF members take Summit’s sterling example of commitment to the cause of safety, and that we can open up this topic even further to help bring about greater and more effective safety measures in this industry.”

About ACSF
The ACSF has developed the Industry Audit Standard, an all-inclusive audit tailored for Part 135 and 91K operators that acts as a detailed gap analysis of an operator’s management practices. The audit program consists of a thorough review of an operator’s processes, procedures and regulatory compliance and the operator’s implementation of and adherence to a safety management system.

About Summit Aviation
The Rocky Mountain Northwest's premier aviation service company, Summit Aviation began, humbly, in 2003, with one pilot, one aircraft and one small hangar. Now, 18 years later, Summit boasts a fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft, a full staff of charter and corporate pilots, highly-qualified flight instructors, and aircraft sales professionals. Its services include aircraft brokerage, flight training, on-demand private charter and aviation management.

Pictured left to right - Front Row: Dan Barnes, Ben Walton, Janine Schwahn, Carlos Bolognini and Charlie White. Back Row: Delbert Beachy, John Marks, Jason Grafel, Davide Cavallotto,
Derrick Erickson. The rest of the crew had already headed to the airport.

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Groundbreaking Conference Will Explore Alternative Futures for Our Communities, Rural Landscapes, and Wildlands

“Growth and change are inevitable,” notes Future West Director Dennis Glick. “They can happen by design, or by default. It’s time that we recognize this reality and begin to identify our vision for the future and the actions needed to make it a reality.”  That is precisely the focus of a unique regional conference to be held this June in Bozeman, Montana.

Conservationists, elected officials, rural landowners, business leaders, land managers, developers and many others will gather for a day-long exploration of the potential future of our towns, working landscapes, and wildlands. The conference, Sustaining the New West: Bold Visions – Inspiring Actions, will take place June 5th at the Emerson Cultural Center in Bozeman.  

Hosted by the non-profit Future West, the event will put a spotlight on growth trends in the Northern Rockies and offer alternative visions for how we develop and conserve this region.  The conference will also highlight examples from around the West of successful efforts to plan for and achieve sustainable conservation and development on a regional scale.

A stellar lineup of speakers will include founding member of the Blackfoot Challenge- rancher Denny Iverson, Lain Leoniak- former Bozeman Water Conservation Specialist and current Assistant Attorney General for Colorado, renowned conservation biologist Dr. David Theobald, Mayor of Canmore Alberta John Borrowman, Teton County Idaho Commissioner Cindy Riegel, Devin Middlebrook from the Lake Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Dr. Aerin Jacobs from the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative, Robert Liberty-  architect of Oregon’s land-use planning system, and several others. They will share their perspectives on options for creating a future that conserves our natural and cultural values, while also creating sustainable and equitable communities.

This is the second Sustaining the New West Conference. “The first,” according to Dennis Glick, “focused primarily on the impacts of growth, development, and climate change on the future of the region.”  At this gathering, individuals who have been deeply engaged in these issues in the Northern Rockies will offer alternative future scenarios for our communities, working rural landscapes, and wildlands. They will be followed by people from other regions sharing lessons they have learned while working on sustainability issues on a landscape, if not statewide, scale.

Glick guarantees that it will be, “A thought-provoking and provocative day that will help us to chart a course for a brighter future for this region.”  

For more information and to register visit or contact Hannah Jaicks (  Lunch is included and a reception will follow.

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Kiwanis Sandbox Giveaway

A local tradition! The Bozeman Kiwanis Club will provide 75 children’s sandboxes, built by club members, and given to families free of charge, sand included! We love sandboxes! They get our children outside, while socializing and developing creative and constructive skill sets.

The sandboxes will be distributed on the south side of the 100 Acre Park off Oak Street, west of 19th, in the parking lot near the sledding hill. Distribution will be on two Saturdays, June 1st and 8th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursday, June 6th from 5-7 p.m. The sandboxes are available on a first come, first served basis, until all are distributed. It is very important to bring a vehicle that can accommodate the 5’by 5’ wooden boxes and over 1,000 pounds of sand.  It is highly recommended that you protect your vehicle with a tarp or drop cloth for transporting, as the sand is loose. Pick-up trucks or trailer are the best way to transport the boxes and sand. Most cars will not accommodate the box and sand. Sandboxes can be reserved for pickup. On the above days. Please email Heidi Pfeil at with your name, phone number, the day you are coming.

The Sandbox Project is one of many the Bozeman Kiwanis Club provides to give back to the community through various outreach programs. The sandboxes are made possible by the club with support from community donations. Other services the Bozeman Kiwanis provides to the community include: Local support is also provided for Eagle Mount Camp Braveheart, Big Sky Cancer Kids Spaghetti Feed, Hope for the Holidays, Kids in Crisis Backpacks, Fix-Up Festival, playground equipment, building park pavilio

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Wednesday, Apr. 17th, 2019

Hunter and bowhunter education courses offered throughout southwest Montana

Hunter and bowhunter education courses have been scheduled in several locations throughout southwestern Montana. Registration has opened for many of those courses.

Students can find the course closest to them and register online at

Students may be required to pick up materials and complete the course manual before the first day of class. Dates, locations and specific instructions for each class, as well as contact information for the instructors, are available in the event description online.

A student must be at least 10 years old to register for Montana Hunter Education courses. Students ages 10-11 can take the course and hunt as an apprentice but will not be fully certified until the year they turn 12. There is no maximum age limit. Students must attend all classroom sessions, the field course and pass a final exam. Anyone age 18 or older can complete an online course but must still attend a field course to become certified.

To purchase a Montana hunting license, any person born after Jan. 1, 1985, must provide proof of having successfully completed a hunter and/or bowhunter education course issued by Montana, any other state or any Canadian province.

Hunter and bowhunter education courses are led by volunteer instructors who are passionate about preserving Montana’s hunting tradition, teaching firearm safety and other outdoor skills. Instructors are needed in communities across southwest Montana. If you are interested in mentoring new hunters, please contact Morgan Jacobsen, Region 3 information and education program manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, at 406-994-6931 or visit for more information.


Hunter Education courses in Region 3 (first day of class):

  • Butte: April 22
  • Bozeman: May 6
  • Helena: May 6
  • Dillon: May 7
  • Big Sky: May 17
  • Clyde Park: May 20
  • West Yellowstone: June 6
  • Logan: July 22

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Tuesday, Apr. 16th, 2019

Apple trees from Montana Heritage Orchard Program available for purchase

Apple trees from the Montana Heritage Orchard Program will be available for purchase this spring beginning in mid-May at nurseries across Montana. The Montana-grown fruit trees have been grafted from some of Montana’s oldest trees and most rugged orchard locations, according to Katrina Mendrey, orchard program manager with Montana State University’s Western Agricultural Research Center

“These trees are a great way for apple enthusiasts to have a little piece of Montana’s homestead history,” said Mendrey, who administers the program. “They were chosen for their ability to survive Montana’s rugged climate with little care.” 

Trees available in 2019 include Transcendent Crabapple and McIntosh from Wild Horse Island in the Flathead; an unknown apple similar to the once-lost Gideon Sweet from Crow Creek Ranch near Pryor; an Alexander apple; and a large green apple of unknown variety from Ray Ranch in the Bitterroot Valley. All the apples were grafted and grown in Montana, Mendrey said.

A Transcendent Crabapple. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

Six nurseries in Montana will carry the trees, including Good Earth Works Co. & Nursery in Billings; K&S Greenhouse in Corvallis; Delaney’s in Polson; Gardenwerks in Helena; Tizer Gardens in Jefferson City; and Cashman Nursery in Bozeman. Trees will also be for sale at a pop-up market to be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27, at Missoula’s Tower Garden located at 3340 S. Seventh St. W.

The purchase of the trees helps administer the Montana Heritage Orchard Program, which provides heritage orchards across Montana with resources to preserve apple genetics, document Montana's fruit growing history and propagate heirloom and lost apple cultivars for backyard and commercial production. 

For more information about the trees, participating orchards and where to find them, visit

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Monday, Apr. 15th, 2019

MSU professor appointed to prominent national committee charting a path for nursing profession

A Montana State University professor has been named to a prominent national committee that is working to chart a path for the nursing profession through 2030.

Peter Buerhaus, professor in the College of Nursing and director of the MSU Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies, is one of 15 individuals appointed to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030.

The committee has been tasked by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to extend the vision for the nursing profession to help the U.S. create a culture of health, reduce health disparities and improve the health and well-being of the U.S. population in the 21st century. The committee will examine lessons learned from a previous Institute of Medicine report that made recommendations about the nursing profession, as well as the current state of science and technology, to inform its assessment of the capacity of the profession to meet the anticipated health and social care demands from 2020 to 2030.

“It is an exciting and humbling opportunity to serve on the committee,” Buerhaus said. “The National Academy of Medicine focuses on bringing the highest level of science and evidence to address important societal issues and influence public policy. I am looking forward to working with national experts from many different disciplines and professions to enhance the nursing profession’s capacity to improve human health.”

In 2009, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation partnered with the Institute of Medicine – now called the National Academy of Medicine – to produce “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” a report which set a vision for nursing in 2020. The committee examined how nurses’ roles, responsibilities and education should change to meet the needs of an aging, increasingly diverse population and to respond to a complex, evolving health care system.

The report’s recommendations focus on the intersection between the health needs of patients throughout their lives and the readiness of the nursing workforce. The recommendations were written to support efforts to improve health care for all Americans by enhancing nurses’ contributions to the delivery of care.

In a press release announcing the Committee on the Future of Nursing, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said a variety of current and emerging issues will influence nursing and merit consideration in setting national priorities for the next 10 years. Those issues include ongoing health care reform, the integration of new technologies, patient-centered care, and respect for the profession and its expertise.

The nursing profession is the largest segment of the nation’s health care workforce, and nurses play a vital role in the health care system, according to Sarah Shannon, dean of the MSU College of Nursing. However, a number of barriers have prevented nurses from being able to respond effectively to rapidly changing health care settings and an evolving health care system, she said, and these barriers need to be overcome to ensure that nurses are well positioned to lead change and advance health for the citizens of Montana and across the U.S. and globally.

She added that Buerhaus is extraordinarily well qualified to address those challenges and to provide important contributions to the Committee on the Future of Nursing.

“The 2010 Future of Nursing report changed the landscape of nursing education and practice. This next report will do no less,” Shannon said. “Few sectors of our economy are changing as rapidly – or are challenged as profoundly by external pressures – as health care. Dr. Buerhaus is the leading national expert on the health care workforce. We are grateful for his representation on this visionary committee.” 

In addition to his appointment to the Committee on the Future of Nursing, in April Buerhaus was inducted into the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars. The society honors individuals who completed their graduate, postdoctoral, professional or performance training at Johns Hopkins but are not currently affiliated with that university, and who have achieved marked professional or scholarly distinction in their fields.

“This honor goes beyond recognizing Dr. Buerhaus’ contributions to the profession of nursing,” Shannon said. “Adding to his other national awards, this most recent appointment recognizes Dr. Buerhaus’ extensive contributions as a health care economist. Montana State University and the College of Nursing are lucky to count Peter Buerhaus as a colleague.”

A nurse and a health care economist, Buerhaus is known for his studies and publications focused on the nursing and physician workforces in the U.S. Before coming to MSU, he was the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing and professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University and assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2003, Buerhaus was elected into the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine.

Buerhaus maintains an active research program involving studies on the economics of the nursing workforce, forecasting nurse and physician supply, developing and testing measures of hospital quality of care, determining public and provider opinions on issues involving the delivery of health care and assessing the quantity and quality of health care provided by nurse practitioners and physicians. 

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Friday, Apr. 12th, 2019

24 Years of Nothing But Drama!

What?!?! 24 years of Camp Equinox?!?! How is that possible?

Camp Equinox, Bozeman’s oldest and biggest theatre day camp got their start back in 1996 at Headwaters Academy. From 50 campers that first year, Camp Equinox has grown to 300 kids over two sessions, now held at Bozeman Summit School.

“We really believe in creating community first, and nurturing campers to become amazing young people. Theatre and comedy are just terrific ways to do it,” says Co-Camp Director Soren Kisiel.

Kisiel and his wife Katie Goodman do everything together. They built the camp, ran what is now the Verge Theatre (under the previous name The Equinox Theatre) for over 12 years, co-write and direct the nationally touring professional satire company Broad Comedy which last year ran Off-Broadway.

You may have seen them in Spontaneous Combusibles, the improv comedy troupe that has performed at Sweetpea for 23 years running, that they founded. They met in a play at college, and have never stopped working to teach and create new theatre since. They were even nominated for a MacArthur Genius Award for their unique work in theatre.

Living in New York, they know the ins and outs of the professional theatre and comedy improv world. They know what it takes to be a creative person in this day and age, and they have found that expressing themselves through comedy is powerful. But they also know how to put process over product when it matters. While the professional theatre scene can be quite cut throat at times, it’s important, they say, to remember why you got into the creative arts to begin with.

“The community that is built creating theatre is one of the most enlivening and empowering things in my life,” Goodman says. “I get so much joy out of creating a character and connecting with other actors to bring a show to life. It’s magical. I learned this when I was a kid doing theatre and now we want to create a safe place where kids support each other and feel really proud of both the creative work they are capable of doing, but also of the friendships and culture that they are a part of. Loving theatre is one thing, but loving your buddies and helping them be their best is really what matters.”

Empowering kids to feel self-confident is what matters most to the Camp Equinox staff. And it’s what matters, it seems, to parents of campers too, who keep sending their kids back year after year.

“Our son dropped a little gem on us at dinner one night last summer,” said one parent who wished to remain anonymous so as not to embarrass her pre-teen. “We asked how his day was and he said that he had forgotten how great it was at Camp Equinox where he could totally be himself versus how stressful school was where you had to be cool all the time. The ‘aha’ moment was the realization that it just might be better to be your real self than to be “cool.” This was the best news a parent of a pre-teen could hear.”

Camp Equinox offers two separate month-long sessions for kids going into grades 1 - 8. Camp runs from 8:30 – 3:30 (except Fridays which end at noon). A fiesta of learning includes acting, musical theatre, comedy improvisation, Shakespeare, dance, puppetry, play writing, hip-hop, costume and set design, and much, much more.

The Camp Scholarship program offers varying scholarship amounts to families in need. These are financial need-based awards. Camp Equinox has never turned anyone away with a financial need based on national income guidelines. Please call for a scholarship application.

Camp Equinox culminates in a giant final performance at the end of camp for family and friends. They are also featured in the Sweetpea Festival and Farmer’s Markets every year performing a smattering of their favorite musical numbers.

For more information or to receive a brochure, please call 406-522-7623 or go to the website at where you can get more information as well as download and printout a registration form.

PO Box 7014, Bozeman, MT 59717
Phone (406) 522-7623

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Tuesday, Apr. 9th, 2019

FWP to host public meeting on smallmouth bass removal project

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will host an informational public meeting on a proposal to remove smallmouth bass from Gallatin Valley ponds.
The meeting will be held on April 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the River Rock Community Center, 101 River Rock Rd., in Belgrade.
FWP proposes using rotenone to remove smallmouth bass, which were illegally introduced to the ponds. Rotenone is a natural substance used to remove fish that are incompatible with the management goals of a fishery or that pose threats to other aquatic resources. Once the bass are removed, FWP would restock the ponds with rainbow trout.

FWP is concerned that further illegal introductions from this source will result in smallmouth bass populations in other parts of the Upper Missouri River system. Smallmouth bass would likely cause irreparable harm to wild trout populations, which are economically important to the state.
FWP has conducted an environmental assessment for the project, which can be viewed online at
Public comments on the project can be submitted online at the above web address or by mail: FWP, c/o Smallmouth Bass Removal, 1400 S. 19th Ave., Bozeman, MT 59718. They can also be emailed to
For more information, please contact the FWP’s Region 3 headquarters at 406-994-4042.

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Monday, Apr. 8th, 2019

Teen survives bear attack south of Ennis

A 17-year-old male was attacked by a bear south of Ennis on Sunday. He fortunately survived the attack with relatively minor injuries.
The teen and his family were visiting their cabin in Wolf Creek, about 30 miles south of Ennis, on the east side of the Madison Valley. He was out looking for shed antlers in the area.
According to the teen, he was walking down a hill around 2 p.m. when he heard a “thump” behind him. He turned around to see a bear charging at him. The teen was carrying bear spray, but he was unable to deploy it immediately because of the bear’s rapid approach. The bear pushed him up against a tree and held him there momentarily. When the bear let go, the teen fell over and attempted to crawl between two trees and protect his head and vitals. The bear then pinned him face-down on the ground. The teen, who was wearing a hoodie and a backpack, said he was able to reach over his shoulder and spray the bear with bear spray, and the bear left.

The young man began walking out and made radio contact with his family. He was treated for his injuries at Madison Valley Medical Center and later released.
FWP was notified of the attack at 3:45 p.m. Based on the teen’s description of the bear’s behavior, the bear was mostly likely a grizzly bear. FWP has notified people who live in the area of the attack. The area has very limited public access and does not get many visitors.
The bear’s behavior in this incident appears to be typical of surprise close encounters. FWP will continue to monitor the area, which is well within occupied bear habitat. The investigation is ongoing, but no further management action is being taken at this time.
FWP reminds everyone to be cautious when in the field as bears are active during the spring, summer and fall months. Some recommended tips for avoiding negative encounters with bears include:
    •    Be prepared and aware of your surroundings.
    •    Carry and know how to use bear spray.
    •    Travel in groups whenever possible.
    •    Stay away from animal carcasses.
    •    Follow U.S. Forest Service food storage regulations.
    •    If you encounter a bear, never approach it. Back away slowly and leave the area.

For more information on bear safety, visit

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Friday, Apr. 5th, 2019

2019 late winter survey of northern Yellowstone elk

Elk numbers in Yellowstone National Park’s northern herd are fewer compared to last year, however the population remains above the 10-year average and other recent counts. Low calf survival will likely impact the population over the next two years, according to a population survey conducted last month.

The Northern Yellowstone Cooperative Wildlife Working Group conducted its annual late winter classification of the northern Yellowstone elk population on March 17-19, 2019. The survey was conducted from a helicopter by staff from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, which is part of the Working Group. Typically, an annual trend count is conducted by fixed-wing aircraft to count the total number of elk, and a separate helicopter survey is conducted to classify elk by age and sex in order to estimate calf and yearling bull survival and ratios of mature bulls in the population. This year the surveys were combined, and elk were counted and classified by helicopter.

All observed elk were counted across the survey area, and when possible staff also classified elk by age and sex. This survey was conducted consistently with the 2016 classification survey in order to assess population changes over the past three years. Survey conditions were favorable across the region, however winter conditions were severe, and many elk were observed to be in poor condition.

Staff counted 5,800 elk, including 1,361 elk (23.5 percent) inside Yellowstone National Park and 4,149 elk (71.5 percent) north of the park. The total count of 5,800 elk was 23 percent lower than the 7,579 elk observed during the 2018 trend count, and 23 percent lower than the 7,510 total elk counted during the 2016 classification survey, but higher than the 10-year average count of 5,399 elk. The long-term average of observed elk numbers since surveys began in 1976 is 10,634 elk, with a peak high count of 19,045 elk in 1994 and a low count of 3,915 elk observed in 2013.

Of the 5,800 elk counted, staff classified 5,510 elk by age and sex, resulting in ratios of 15.2 calves, 5.2 yearling bulls and 12.6 brow-tined bulls per 100 cows. Calf and yearling bull ratios were lower than recent surveys and long-term averages. Brow-tined bull ratios were higher than recent surveys, but below long-term average. Staff observed 16 percent fewer cows, 46 percent fewer calves and 42 percent fewer yearling bulls as compared to the 2016 classification survey. Brow-tined bull numbers increased by 21.3 percent from 432 observed in 2016 to 524 observed in 2019.

This is the second consecutive year with calf ratios below the threshold of 20 calves per 100 cows considered necessary to maintain a stable population. It is likely that additional winter mortalities will occur into spring, further reducing overall numbers and recruitment. Below-average yearling bull and calf recruitment is likely to result in lower numbers of brow-tined bulls being recruited into the population over the next two years.

Though overall elk numbers are down this year as compared to 2018, it is not unusual to observe fluctuations in numbers of elk counted due to survey quality, elk movements and sightability of elk, which vary with conditions. Trends in elk populations are best assessed by considering multiple years of survey data together. The trend for this population has been increasing since 2013; this is the first year since 2013 that elk numbers have fallen from the previous year. The Working Group will continue to monitor trends of the northern Yellowstone elk population and evaluate the relative contribution of various components of mortality, including predation, environmental factors and hunting.

The Working Group was formed in 1974 to cooperatively preserve and protect the long-term integrity of the northern Yellowstone winter range for wildlife species by increasing our scientific knowledge of the species and their habitats, promoting prudent land management activities, and encouraging an interagency approach to answering questions and solving problems. The Working Group is comprised of resource managers and biologists from the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks; National Park Service (Yellowstone National Park); U.S. Forest Service (Custer Gallatin National Forest); and U.S. Geological Survey-Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center in Bozeman.

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